General Show Discussion

For the films of 2013
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flipp525
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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby flipp525 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:49 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:
Greg wrote:Lupita Nyong'o could survive NON-STOP, then it clearly is not something Academy voters care about. Eddie Murphy did not lose because of NORBIT.

Non-Stop is the #1 movie at the box office. It was nothing that Lupita needed to "survive" in order to win the Oscar. She's barely in it anyway. (Also, weren't ballots due well before its opening last Friday?) The movie is not a disaster, by the way. It's a pretty unobjectionable thriller in the, I'd say, second tier of Liam Neeson's new action hero oeuvre.

Besides that, I think Norbit absolutely affected Eddie Murphy's chances at a win that year. Whenever anyone wanted to look at Murphy's performance in Dreamgirls and view it as some kind of harbinger of better acting to come, all they had to do was look at the ads for Norbit to be reminded of how much schlocky shit he produces.
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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:41 pm

Greg wrote:There is one instance where I can see a split happening, and, it would only be for the acting and song categories. There could be two or more nominees for the same film, and, the voters who saw and liked that film could split their votes among the multiple nominees and allow another nominee to squeak ahead. Of course, this type of split is impossible for Best Picture.


Except those double nominees often have a winner.

Octavia Spencer won despite Jessica Chastain, Melissa Leo won despite Amy Adams, Catherine Zeta Jones won despite Queen Latifah, etc.

In fact here is an old blog post about this phenomenon.

http://bplusmovieblog.com/2012/02/09/do ... he-oscars/

Then you have something like the three nominees in Supporting Actor for THE GODFATHER 2, where DeNiro was still able to win.

I agree that the idea of "splits" needs to just die. Similar to the whole "due" mentality. Peter O'Toole, Roger Deakins, Kevin O'Connell, Alex North, etc. were all due yet again and again came up empty-handed. Another Oscar myth that needs to go away is this idea that having a bad film released during Oscar voting will cost you a win. If Natalie Portman could survive NO STRINGS ATTACHED and Lupita Nyong'o could survive NON-STOP, then it clearly is not something Academy voters care about. Eddie Murphy did not lose because of NORBIT. It is as ridiculous of an Oscar myth as Marisa Tomei winning because Jack Palance read the wrong name.
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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby Greg » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:07 pm

There is one instance where I can see a split happening, and, it would only be for the acting and song categories. There could be two or more nominees for the same film, and, the voters who saw and liked that film could split their votes among the multiple nominees and allow another nominee to squeak ahead. Of course, this type of split is impossible for Best Picture.

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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:04 pm

Mister Tee wrote:As we've discussed here ad nauseam, the word "split" is rather stupidly applied to Academy voting. Any time there's more than a binary choice on a ballot, votes are by definition split; it doesn't make the outcome invalid. You can suggest that certain films or performances that appeal to similar demographics might make an opponent's victory more likely -- as, say, 1976's best picture slate, where four hipper competiors might have made for smoother sailing for the retro Rocky -- but, again, that's just how the game usually works...

.



It's always wrong. Take the much-mentioned 1951 - American in Paris won, but it's not like A Place in the Sun and Streetcar Named Desire were the only nominees; there were two other movies, of which at least one, though not a musical, was certainly closer to American in Paris, and could have split votes with it. And George Stevens, director of A Place in the Sun, won Best Director in a race which - again: in theory - could have been even more favorable than Best Picture to American in Paris's Vincente Minnelli (the other nominees were all directors of "serious" movies).

But yes, with the preferential ballot, it's even more absurd.

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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:50 am

As we've discussed here ad nauseam, the word "split" is rather stupidly applied to Academy voting. Any time there's more than a binary choice on a ballot, votes are by definition split; it doesn't make the outcome invalid. You can suggest that certain films or performances that appeal to similar demographics might make an opponent's victory more likely -- as, say, 1976's best picture slate, where four hipper competiors might have made for smoother sailing for the retro Rocky -- but, again, that's just how the game usually works...

...except under the preferential ballot, the complaint makes literally no sense. Once the Academy went to the field-of-up-to-ten, they knew that vote divisions could be so extreme that an unrepresentative winner could slip through. So, they set up this system whereby candidates are eliminated one-by-one, by smallest number of votes, until it's a two-film face-off, at which point each of the two survivors has any ballot where it appears above the other finalist counted as a first place vote. So, in the last analysis, the film has to have at least 50% plus 1 vote to be declared the winner.

If the complaint is simply that Slave didn't get 50% plus 1 in the first round, well, that goes to my general impression of Slave fans -- for them, simply winning isn't enough; something close to unanimity is the only acceptable outcome.

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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:30 am

Okri wrote:
(Using "split" - those five magic letters - as an excuse for any Oscar outcome one doesn't agree with has traditionally been an easy, and often coward-ish, device, and totally untrue of course - but it has rarely been used more stupidly than in this case).


Yeah, that's just bad. I will agree that the film won in what appeared to be a close race, however.


[/quote]


It was definitely a close race. But why a "split"? And why those three movies? It makes no sense. And this from someone who is considered the leading authority on this subject!

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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby Okri » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:15 am

ITALIANO wrote:
Big Magilla wrote: Now he is saying 12 Years a Slave only won with no more than 30% of the vote, that it won by splitting the vote between the three more popular choices, Gravity; American Hustle and Philomena, which is patently absurd.


It IS absurd, and this is why I'm worried - these bloggers that the Academy seems to be more and more influenced by are... I don't want to offend anyone, but I think it's quite objective: they just aren't very intelligent. When you read their blogs, you wonder - how can they be so successful (and judging from the number of comments they receive, they ARE successful)? Unfortunately, mediocrity can be very popular - more so these days. But it can also be dangerous - especially if it gets so influential.


I think its a bit broader than that, though. One of the consequences of the year-round oscar predictions is that they narrow the playing field quite drastically already. Now, don't get me wrong, year-round predictions are fun. Especially if, like me, you use them less as predictions and more as "achievements I hope are worthy of celebration and they are in fact celebrated" (the downside is that I'm often very, very, wrong. But being wrong on the internet about the Oscars is not in fact a capital crime, despite Tom O'Neill's mantra to the contrary). But in trying to predict what AMPAS will go for, they consider a narrower swath of oscar bait as opposed to what AMPAS genuinely goes for (which is often more wide-ranging than they're given credit for being) and reduce films a lot more (how often did we hear that AMPAS would go for 12 Years a Slave because it was about slavery? As if slavery + Steve McQueen = oscar bait? On what planet?).

And beyond that, you get the Tom O'Neills of the world that treat Oscar as superior to film.

(Using "split" - those five magic letters - as an excuse for any Oscar outcome one doesn't agree with has traditionally been an easy, and often coward-ish, device, and totally untrue of course - but it has rarely been used more stupidly than in this case).


Yeah, that's just bad. I will agree that the film won in what appeared to be a close race, however.

Now there is - at least in Italy, I don't know if it's in the US too - a new internet narrative which could get its results in the next years - "Leonardo Di Caprio is a victim of the Academy - get Di Caprio an Oscar soon". Right from the day after, they have started to re-write history, saying that Di Caprio was the big favorite, that his defeat was a surprise, etc, Now, I was one of those who thought he SHOULD win this time, but even I knew that it was almost impossible. And most importantly, while I can imagine that losing four times mustn't be nice, I also know that there have been actors - even better actors than Di Caprio - who had to wait more than four nominations before finally getting it. And some waited forever, and never got it. So it's not like Di Caprio's is a unique, and embarassing, case in Oscar history. (Interestingly, they don't spend the same words for Amy Adams, who after all should deserve them even more - for the simple reason that Amy Adams isn't as famous here as Di Caprio is).


I agree.

I do think, though, that haven't really engaged with AMPAS' role in all this, which is in and of itself an interesting topic.

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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:17 am

Is this why I and my site aren't that popular? Because I'm not a narcissistic sycophant? I cover the race, I don't try to direct it. I say what my choices are, but I try to look at the race pragmatically and statistically to come up with my selections, attempting to employ precedent in those decisions. Or maybe I don't. That's my opinion of my writing anyway.
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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:05 am

Big Magilla wrote: Now he is saying 12 Years a Slave only won with no more than 30% of the vote, that it won by splitting the vote between the three more popular choices, Gravity; American Hustle and Philomena, which is patently absurd.


It IS absurd, and this is why I'm worried - these bloggers that the Academy seems to be more and more influenced by are... I don't want to offend anyone, but I think it's quite objective: they just aren't very intelligent. When you read their blogs, you wonder - how can they be so successful (and judging from the number of comments they receive, they ARE successful)? Unfortunately, mediocrity can be very popular - more so these days. But it can also be dangerous - especially if it gets so influential.

(Using "split" - those five magic letters - as an excuse for any Oscar outcome one doesn't agree with has traditionally been an easy, and often coward-ish, device, and totally untrue of course - but it has rarely been used more stupidly than in this case).

Now there is - at least in Italy, I don't know if it's in the US too - a new internet narrative which could get its results in the next years - "Leonardo Di Caprio is a victim of the Academy - get Di Caprio an Oscar soon". Right from the day after, they have started to re-write history, saying that Di Caprio was the big favorite, that his defeat was a surprise, etc, Now, I was one of those who thought he SHOULD win this time, but even I knew that it was almost impossible. And most importantly, while I can imagine that losing four times mustn't be nice, I also know that there have been actors - even better actors than Di Caprio - who had to wait more than four nominations before finally getting it. And some waited forever, and never got it. So it's not like Di Caprio's is a unique, and embarassing, case in Oscar history. (Interestingly, they don't spend the same words for Amy Adams, who after all should deserve them even more - for the simple reason that Amy Adams isn't as famous here as Di Caprio is).
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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:20 am

There are two in particular, but they shall remain nameless (by me anyway). They do enough self-promotion, they don't need any free publicity.

One has been quiet since the Oscars, possibly mulling over what to say. The other just keeps digging deeper. Now he is saying 12 Years a Slave only won with no more than 30% of the vote, that it won by splitting the vote between the three more popular choices, Gravity; American Hustle and Philomena, which is patently absurd. For this statement to be true, it would mean that the majority of voters couldn't decide which of those three to vote for, so some voted for one, some for another allowing something else to win. That's an argument that could be made as to why An American in Paris beat A Streetcar Named Desire and A Place in the Sun, but 12 Years a Slave was a front-runner all along. Philomena was never even in the conversation - just another opportunity to take a swipe at the older population from someone who allegedly keeps moving his birthdate forward from the 1940s to now 1960. Besides which under the preferential voting system, the winner, if it isn't decided on the first ballot, goes to film voters have listed second and son on. The film that wins has to be the film most people "liked" better than the others. But I guess proffering any argument that sustains your case is better than admitting you were wrong to this guy.

And I really don't get all this "too violent to watch" nonsense. There's more violence in a typical TV police procedural which most old people I know watch incessantly. Most of the violence in 12 Years a Slave is off-camera. The on-camera stuff is mostly in long shot. Has there been a quote by anyone with an actual name complaining about the violence? I haven't seen one.

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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby Heksagon » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:11 am

Mister Tee wrote:This just felt a bit more than that: the attitude seemed to be that 12 Years was self-evidently a transcendently great film, and that anyone who failed to acknowledge that was suffering some moral flaw -- either racism or an old codger's inability to face the film's bitter truths. (I'd have done much better not to read these people so often, myself)

I haven't followed the Oscar bloggers in years, as they rarely have anything interesting to say, but out of curiosity, now I have to ask - who exactly has been saying stuff like this?

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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:22 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:About those 12 Years partisans – not just fans, but rabid “I couldn’t move for half an hour” acolytes -- I think they did their film a massive disservice over the course of this season. From the start, they announced the film an indisputable masterpiece, with anyone who dissented dismissed as either old and out of it or a covert racist. Any film perceived as a threat to its award prospects (as Hustle was, early on, and later Gravity) was attacked with both barrels. In the end they won (though in considerably more limited fashion than expected before year-end), but for at least some there’ll always be the suspicion voters were intimidated/bullied into voting for the film (for every anonymous voter who said they couldn’t make themselves watch it, there seemed to be another who only got halfway through it but voted for it anyway). I confess these partisans made it difficult for me to enjoy any awards success for a film I did admire.


"Covert racist" is one thing, but isn't "old and out of it" rather standard bitching that happens every season? As well as suspicions of voters being coerced and influenced (or, if you prefer, bullied)? Being anti-Scorsese may not have the stigma of being racist, but in some years it brought out considerable hostility in some Scorsese partisans.

I will admit I've spent very little time this year reading Oscar pundits, so your perspective may be more informed than mine.

I get what you're saying, and, yes, there's always been a nasty streak to the "my choice is cool, yours drools" crowd. This just felt a bit more than that: the attitude seemed to be that 12 Years was self-evidently a transcendently great film, and that anyone who failed to acknowledge that was suffering some moral flaw -- either racism or an old codger's inability to face the film's bitter truths. (I'd have done much better not to read these people so often, myself)

BJ mentions that the Oscars followed the Broadcast Critics this year, but didn't note to what extent: they in fact matched in EVERY category, except for two where a match was impossible -- foreign film, where the qualifying technicality left off Blue is the Warmest Color, and make-up, where the idiosyncratic taste of the branch omitted American Hustle. It was only by the barest of margins that we missed a total match. And, as we know, if you're matching the Broadcasters, you're echoing the bloggers.

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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby flipp525 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:59 am

Mister Tee wrote:I thought her monologue was very strong (she even managed to make that cruel-ish Liza joke seem gentle), though I got tired of her in-the-aisles bits after a while.

I thought that Ellen's drag queen joke about Liza was rather mean-spirited and actually hurt her hosting gig being, as it was, at the top of the show. And no, being "Ellen" didn't make the joke land. At all. She really lost the audience with that one and Liza was visibly rattled by it. Her later taking a "selfie" with Liza was an attempt to temper the fallout.
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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:42 am

WEll, good job keeping this under wraps till after voting ended.

http://www.thewrap.com/oscars-rift-figh ... rs-a-slave

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Re: General Show Discussion

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:06 am

As someone who has been a big fan of Alfonso Cuarón, Steve McQueen, and Spike Jonze -- and think their efforts this year were very strong entries in their filmographies -- I was perfectly pleased to see all three of them get to make speeches last night. I have to say the Picture/Director split was kind of nice -- I often find myself splitting my personal preferences in those categories between two movies I like, and this was a pretty great way to make fans of both films feel rewarded. I honestly doubt any 12 Years or Gravity fans left the evening feeling like their movie got slighted in the way that Social Network fans felt a crushing "so-close" loss several years back.

On the whole, I agree that the winners were quite strong across the board. Not every selection was my first choice, but I can't say that there was a single winner that made me groan. Of course, I'd have preferred some surprises, though at the end of the day I'll take a worthier group of winners over grisly upsets any day.

You really do have to wonder, though, if we'll ever have another ceremony that isn't largely dictated by pre-ordained blogger favorites. As usual, the Broadcast Film Critics and SAG really seemed to settle the races to a disappointing degree. Had we not had either of those prizes, I imagine predictions of DiCaprio (and even Dern and Ejiofor) would have been far more prominent in a very competitive Best Actor field, rather than everyone assuming McConaughey would come out on top. And Lupita Nyong'o would have been practically an underdog in that scenario, given the Globe and BAFTA prizes to Lawrence. Wouldn't have that Oscar night been a lot more fun?

A thought crossed my mind last year, but seemed silly at the time to suggest, though a second back-to-back Picture/Director split has made me reconsider it. Is it possible that the preferential balloting system might have helped produce these Best Picture choices, and under the one-vote system, Argo and 12 Years might have both lost Best Picture? Given how well both did in the Best Picture precursors, it seems strange to suggest, but it's at least worth considering, given how much these past few years have really broken from tradition. Or, possibly, perhaps one can simply attribute these victories to a changing membership -- as much as we like to cite precedent in making our predictions, the people voting now are not remotely the same group of people that voted Picture and Director in tandem in 1974 or 1977. Perhaps this crowd is just more willing to divvy up their votes than past members were. And I'd say the screenplay prize for Her -- in nominations terms a seemingly MUCH less widely popular film than American Hustle -- could also support this idea, that today's voters are a lot more likely to pick a smaller film with a very notable script than the Oscar voters of yore, who would more likely choose an broad across-the-board candidate with stronger Best Picture pull.

It's also worth mentioning that both last year and this year featured quite a number of shakeups from the precursor templates with Oscar in the NOMINATIONS stage, but once we got to the big show, the awards went almost entirely according to predictions. I'm not sure what this really says, except for that perhaps it's easier for niche Academy preferences to squeak through as the smaller branches nominate, but once the general membership votes, it's becoming increasingly difficult for a group that large to produce winners that feel anything less than homogenous.

We all knew it was coming, but watching Emmanuel Lubezki FINALLY win an Oscar after coming up short so many times was a great moment. As for great moments that were a little less predictable, I was very happy to see The Great Beauty prevail over some of the more milquetoast candidates for Foreign Language Film. I didn't think Beauty was quite on par with Amour/Separation in terms of perfection, but it was a dazzling and exciting movie nonetheless, and I gave it probably the biggest cheer of the night when it won.

I was less enthused with Frozen than most, but I must admit that it's rewarding that Disney Feature Animation -- which, for the majority of movie history, WAS animation -- finally score the Animated Feature prize. And similarly, though I don't feel any tremendous attachment to "Let It Go," watching a composer I admire like Bobby Lopez complete his EGOT (topped off with that great speech from him and his wife) made for a memorable moment.

I really like Ellen DeGeneres. I liked her previous hosting gig, and I liked her this time. She's funny without being mean, and she's clearly someone who everyone in the audience just adored.

Pharrell's number was a kick, made even more entertaining by Nyong'o, Streep, and Adams shimmying with him. U2 and Karen O were totally solid. Idina Menzel struggled with the high note, and seemed visibly nervous (shades of her "Defying Gravity" performance on the Tonys a decade ago), but remains one of musical theater's most commanding performers. Speaking of struggling, Bette Midler wasn't in her best voice tonight either, and Pink, much as I'm usually fond of her, decided to breathe way too many times in the middle of words for my taste.

The montages were strange -- I'm not sure what all this talk about "heroes" was. It seemed to me that basically heroes translated to "main characters," and the clips chosen were pretty bland. In Memoriam was quite nice though.

There were quite a few totally strange moments -- the group selfie picture, Liza Minnelli embracing Lupita Nyong'o, John Travolta butchering Menzel's name -- that provided my crowd quite a bit of laughs. Moments like these are what keep the Oscars such a bizarre cultural object, for better or for worse.

Not one Alone Yet Not Alone joke?


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